Retention management to prevent human resources from leaving (3)

August 6, 2018 [No.53-2018]

Hiroshi Yamamoto, Ph.D., Professor
School of Business/Graduate School of Business
Aoyama Gakuin University


Part 3: Specific retention management policies (2)


Following the previous lecture, let us take a look at assignment management and resignation management with examples as measures for retention management.


1. Assigning management
Under the current situation of labor shortage, in order to anchor young people who are strongly "reward-oriented," it is important to consider "what kind of jobs they do" and "which department (which areas) they work in." In other words, what is most desirable is assigning the right people to the right places. Namely, "giving employees work that they are suited for." At the same time, assignment is also closely connected to human relationships in the workplace. We can often see examples in which a person who is considering changing jobs because he/she does not get along with a superior, would not consider changing jobs after that superior has transferred. By listening to employees, I heard voices such as "If I keep doing the same job, I feel like I'm stuck in a rut. If it is a painful place to work, I really don't want to do this job. By changing assignments while considering skill improvement, I think that the number of resignees can be reduced."
Now, how do companies respond to them? By listening, I heard many voices aimed at giving employees work that they are suited for, with statements such as  "Departments and job types are limited, but we do our best to put the right people in the right places as much as possible" (human resources service industry: X company). And, with statements such as "We make our decisions with a variety of materials such as personal reports, assessments and opinions of the people around." (the same company), each company also takes a variety of measures.  Among them, I heard many voices putting emphasis on the person's requests, including, "With regard to a transfer, the person's intention is the most important.  Assigning a person based on the persons request is the easiest to demonstrate performance." (IT company: Z company) However, real intentions can be heard and a glimpse of an undesired reality can be seen: "The reality is that the company's convenience comes first.  In cases where 'If that person doesn't come in, the workplace doesn't function;' honestly, transfer requests are something we 'just hear' about" (confectionery manufacturing retailer: W company).
Giving employees work that they are suited for corresponds to "assigning work that matches the person’s skills and capabilities" (Part 2); the second place ranking of measures to retain young employees in the survey of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (2014). Also, assigning individuals work that they want to do was only the measure emphasized by both companies and employees (The Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training, 2007).  In addition to AI (which is currently receiving attention) used for assignments, etc., we need to investigate it as a central retention management policy in the future.


2.    Resignation management
It is important as retention management that companies respond thoroughly to resignees when they resign. Specifically, when the exit interview is conducted and the reasons for resignation, etc. are heard.  Employees are observing their organization's responses to resigning employees carefully, and depending on responses, are displaying reactions such as a decline in motivation. There is even a danger for a chain reaction of resignations. Listening to employees, I heard voices stating, "It would be useful for retention to hear the real reasons for resignation as much as possible and to make use of them in the future."
How do companies respond to them? In actually listening, I heard voices stating, "Responses to resignees are a part which we are strengthening now" (school meals consignment management: V company) and are attracting attention as retention management. Specifically, a variety of measures are taken, such as "The person in charge of the area is talking personally with the resignee to hear the resignee's real reasons for resignation through meetings, telephones, etc." (the same company), "Since the exit interview is held by the human resources development department which has company-wide point of view, the resignee can speak his/her real reasons easily and it makes it easy use of them for the subsequent personnel policies. We do not force them to stay, but instead, we focus on keeping a good relationship while helping the resignees resign, allowing for the possibility of the resignee to come back to us after resigning," (food chain: U company), etc.  
After submitting a letter of resignation, many peoples' resignations cannot be stopped. However the effect of exit interviews reside in the "retention management for the future." The retention management that will reduce the number of resignees who may potentially quit in the future. Reasons for resignation that many resignees have mentioned until now have a high chance of becoming the reasons mentioned by future resignees. By hearing the real reasons to some extent in interviews, etc., we can rethink personnel policies, relocation, etc. referring to these reasons.

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